Questions and answers on Slovakia’s disbursement request under NextGenerationEU

(Source: European Commission)

How did the Commission assess Slovakia’s first payment request?

On 29 April 2022, Slovakia submitted to the Commission a request for the disbursement of €398.7 million (net of pre-financing) in grants under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The request was based on the achievement of the 14 milestones, as outlined in the Council Implementing Decision approving the plan, for the first instalment. They cover reforms of the judicial system, and in the areas of higher education and R&D, the fiscal framework, the energy system, sustainable mobility, anti-corruption, the digitalisation of public sector as well as Slovakia’s audit and control system for the RRF implementation. In line with the RRF Regulation, the Commission had up to two months to carry out its preliminary assessment of the request.

With their request, the Slovak authorities provided detailed and comprehensive evidence demonstrating the fulfilment of the 14 milestones included in the Council Implementing Decision assessing the Recovery and Resilience Plan of Slovakia. The Commission has thoroughly assessed this information before presenting its positive preliminary assessment of the payment request.

What are the next steps?

The Commission has now sent its positive preliminary assessment of Slovakia’s fulfilment of the milestones required for this payment to the Economic and Financial Committee (EFC), asking for its opinion. The EFC’s opinion, to be delivered within a maximum of four weeks, should be taken into account in the Commission’s assessment. The Commission will adopt the final decision on the disbursement of the financial contribution, in accordance with the examination procedure, through a comitology committee. Following the adoption of the decision by the Commission, the disbursement to Slovakia will take place. The amounts disbursed to the Member States are published in the Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard. The Commission has also shared its positive preliminary assessment with the European Parliament.

How do the milestones achieved by Slovakia so far effectively support the green transition?

The green transition is supported by several reforms covering renewable energy and sustainable transport.

Both the investment plan for railway infrastructure and the methodology for selecting, preparing and implementing projects aimed at boosting cycling set the basis for the promotion of cleaner transport. They will contribute to the objective of a modal shift from road transport to both railways and cycling.

There is also a higher capacity for connecting renewables to the electricity grid in Slovakia, following the review of rules on technical capacities for electricity transmission within the domestic electricity system. This reform measure will help to roll out the investments in renewable energy foreseen in and supported by the RRF.

How do the milestones achieved by Slovakia so far effectively contribute to the digital transition?

While milestones and targets related to the digital transition are more concentrated in subsequent instalments, one important measure is already covered by the first payment. The National Concept for the Digitalisation of Public Administration for the 2021-2030 period was adopted. The reform aims to further digitalise the Slovak public administration and ensure cybersecurity, and is centred around four main priority axes, namely better public services, digital and data transition, effective IT systems and cybersecurity and information security of public administration. The plan defines as its strategic headline target a 40% progress in the DESI Digital services index, by 2026, compared to the current situation.

How do the milestones achieved by Slovakia so far contribute to improving Slovakia’s economic and social situation, and its resilience?

Slovakia successfully introduced expenditure ceilings in the law on budgetary rules, a reform milestone contributing to the resilience of public finances.

The review of rules on technical capacities for electricity transmission within the electricity system now allows for higher volumes of renewables to be connected to the national grid. The new investments improve the overall resilience of the energy system. Most notably, the reform provides new opportunities for the independent production of electricity, with positive effects on companies’ competitiveness.

Slovakia has also met several milestones linked to reforms of the management system of higher education institutions and of the organisation and funding of the Slovak Academy of Science, thus enabling increased cooperation with the private sector. To address the fragmentation and enhance research capacities and internationalisation, it has adopted a roadmap for merging universities as well as a strategy for the internationalisation of universities.

Several justice reforms constitute significant steps towards improving the effectiveness of the justice system, including a reorganisation of the judicial court map that allows for the enhanced specialisation of judges. The legislative changes also aim at improving the judiciary’s integrity. In addition, the police organisational reform will increase its capacity to detect and handle new forms of crime and corruption.

Does the achievement of these first milestones contribute to an effective implementation of the Plan?

The milestones fulfilled demonstrate significant steps in the implementation of Slovakia’s recovery and resilience plan, and of its broad reform agenda over the lifetime of the Recovery and Resilience Facility. They include an investment plan for railway infrastructure projects and the development of a methodology for selecting, preparing and implementing projects aimed at boosting cycling, which seek to contribute to a faster rollout of the green modes of transport. A set of laws aimed at strengthening the integrity and independence of the judicial system and helping the fight against corruption is also included.

Reforms in the areas of higher education, research and development, and digitalisation of the public administration create a solid basis and effective framework for additional reforms and investments supported by the RRF in the subsequent payment periods. To enable speedy and effective implementation, Slovakia has set up a comprehensive implementation system governed by the Recovery and Resilience Facility Act along with implementing guidelines. The main coordination role is assigned to the National Implementation and Coordination Authority (NICA). Slovakia also established an audit and control system linked to the RRF, as well as a repository system providing information for the monitoring of the implementation of the Plan.

Why did Slovakia present these 14 milestones for its first payment request?

The milestones and targets to be included in each of the payment requests are set out in the Council Implementing Decision approving the relevant national plan. In the case of Slovakia, this Decision provides for the first instalment which is linked to the 14 milestones that Slovakia has now achieved. While Member States can decide when to submit a payment request, they cannot unilaterally change the milestones linked to each instalment, nor their number.

Privacy Preferences
When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in form of cookies. Here you can change your privacy preferences. Please note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we offer.